March 1, 2023

Young, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Support Maritime Academy Students

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to expand the age eligibility for the Maritime Administration’s Student Incentive Payment Program.

The Changing Age-Determined Eligibility to Student Incentive Payments (CADETS) Act – which the Senators introduced and passed through the Senate last Congress – will expand the Student Incentive Payment Program eligibility age for financial assistance to cadets who attended one of the six State Maritime Academies and commit to a post-graduation service obligation to include any qualified student who will meet the age requirements for enlistment in the U.S. Navy Reserve at their time of graduation. In return for their commitment to serve, cadets can receive up to $32,000 in this incentive payment funding over four years to help offset the cost of tuition, uniforms, books, and living costs. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Jack Bergman (R-MI-1).

“Our maritime academies play an important but often overlooked role in our national security,” said Senator Young. “I helped introduce the CADETS Act to expand the eligibility age for maritime cadets to offset their tuition, living costs, and uniforms through the Student Incentive Payment Program as they serve our country.”

“Graduates of these prestigious academies go on to maintain and command commercial vessels and container ships traveling across the Great Lakes – and play a critical role in strengthening our national security and robust maritime economy in Michigan,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. “My bipartisan bill would incentivize more cadets to continue serving after graduation, while helping them receive a high-quality, affordable education.”

“The Great Lakes are essential to our Made in Wisconsin economy, and investing in our maritime workforce will not only strengthen national security, but also support Wisconsin’s manufacturers, farmers and producers who rely on our water highways to deliver their products to market,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am pleased to work with Democrats and Republicans to move our maritime industry forward and help young people who want to serve their country pursue careers with the U.S. Navy Reserve.”

“The United States’ maritime academies play a vital – and often overlooked – role in defending America’s national security,” said Senator Braun. “These young men and women deserve the absolute best services we can provide for them. This is why I’m very proud to cosponsor the CADETS Act, which will expand financial assistance and incentives for maritime academy graduates who have made the ultimate commitment to the United States Armed Forces.”

“Today’s maritime academy cadets are tomorrow’s Merchant Marines and commercial shipping captains, helping to protect our seaways and facilitating the safe transport of goods across the Great Lakes,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation will expand financial assistance opportunities for students who enlist in the Navy Reserve after graduation, providing those serving our country with the support they need.”

“I am proud to support this legislation, which will help ensure that all the men and women who serve our country and seek high-quality education are able to do so steadily and affordably regardless of their age,” said Senator Cruz.

“The CADETS Act will mend a major oversight which prevents qualified, high-caliber state-operated maritime academy cadets from receiving assistance through the Student Incentive Payment Program after the age of 25,” said Representative Bergman. “I’m glad to say this legislation will remedy that, ensuring non-traditional cadets who meet the age requirement for enlistment have access to the financial resources they deserve.”

Current Student Incentive Payment Program age requirements prohibit cadets older than 25 from participating in the program. State Maritime Academies have programs to recruit former military veterans and servicemembers, but most of these cadets are too old to qualify for this funding. As a result, older students—many of whom are veterans—therefore do not qualify for this program due to their age. The Senators’ CADETS Act will expand the eligibility age to include any qualified student who will meet the age requirements for enlistment in the U.S. Navy Reserve at their time of graduation, and ensure that high-performing, non-traditional cadets can receive this funding.